Paddling down the Kicking Horse River is clearly our specialty. And although we love the river and the thrill white water provides, everyone here at Glacier Raft Company adores the many activities that come along with living in a mountain town.
Our amazing location, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, has led Golden, B.C. to become a leading destination for mountain biking - an adventure activity that leaves you breathless (both figuratively and literally) and excited to hit the trails!
Golden’s mountain biking culture is extremely diverse and unique - more than 100 kilometers of quality bike trails zigzag the area, marking Golden as a top destination in British Columbia for adventure junkies looking to get outside and hit the dirt.
Whether you are looking for a short cruise-y ride, or a thrilling downhill adventure, Golden has trails that fit your mood – and your style.
Three main cross country biking areas surround Golden – the CBT trail network, the Moonrakers and Mountain Shadows. Not to mention that Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Mount 7 offer some pretty insane downhill trails.
With Golden’s Cycling Club continuously working hard to grow and maintain the trail networks, it seems like the trail list is ever growing. So, it can get a bit overwhelming at times to choose which route to take – especially if you are new to town, or just looking for a new area to explore.
Many of our staff members hit the trails regularly, so we have a bit of insight into which trails are worthy of our time (even though they all are!). But, here are five of our favourite – and all of them are accessible from town itself.
1. CBT MAINLINE
Glacier photographer Jena LeRoy has been biking for years, and her favourite trail is a classic - straight up CBT Mainline. “I have a soft spot for it,” she explains. It’s the trail she learned on, and one that forces you to push hard to get yourself up to the top.
The reward comes on your way back down.
Raft guide Lawrence Brennan agrees, and says that the trail strikes a good balance between going up and coming down.
With many trails that link off of CBT Mainline, a popular route seems to be up CBT, down Gold Rush or Mighty Quinn, and then over Take-it-Easy which will bring you back to town.
The trails off the CBT Mainline provide a good workout, along with a fun thrill for adventure-seekers.
Although Jena learned on this trail, she says it’s not necessarily the best for beginners, as it's hard to, “be in shape and also learn.”
She makes a good point.
2. north star to canyon creek
For a more-relaxed ride, Glacier owner Carmen Narancsik recommends the North Star trail to Bear Claw to Canyon Creek before looping back to Cedar Lake, up at the Moonraker trail system.
Although situated a bit further from town (a 10-minute drive up towards Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will take you there), the Moonraker network has more cruisey trails that are, “fun and flowy.”
Great for beginners, the Moonrakers provide gorgeous scenery while also bringing you to some hidden lakes that are great for swimming with few people around.
“Cedar Lake 3 and 4 are beautiful,” says Narancsik, who saw a moose last season feeding in a swampy area.
Don’t be fooled by all the trails up at the Moonrakers. While you can link up a pretty cruisey circuit, there are some extreme options for the downhillers among us too.
Raft guide Isaac Kamink loves a thrill, and his favourite trail is LSD, which is a steep downhill route that pumps up your adrenaline, while also providing amazing scenery.
“It is awesome just for the aesthetics and the view itself,” he explains. “It is spectacular.” Plus, the trail links up to the ski resort, he adds, which provides its own unique beauty.
This trail is for experienced bikers only, and unless you're game for a lengthy climb, you'll want to arrange a shuttle. Most people riding LSD shuttle to the top, taking the road that climbs up past Cedar Lake.
To cover a lot of vert, after coming down LSD hop on the CBT Mainline which will bring you all the way to valley bottom and back into the town of Golden.
Your legs will feel the burn, but in a good way we hope!
For those looking to get more technical with their biking, the Mountain Shadows are a great network of trails located near the base of Golden’s famous peak – Mount 7.
Glacier owner Ryan Johannesen says that Cliffside is a pretty sweet trail that ends with a view overlooking the town of Golden and the Columbia Valley.
Although the pedal up is a bit challenging (and therefore not too busy), the view is definitely worth the pain.
“Plus, going down is a blast,” he adds.
5. arrowhead to canyon creek and back better than boston/Barking dog
One of Golden's classic rides, this loop in the Moonraker network is a real gem.
The scenery is beautiful and the trails are flowy making it an enjoyable ride suitable for all abilities.
From the Cedar Lake parking lot you'll bike up the road a short ways, and the Arrowhead trail head is the first one on your left.
Biking the full circuit is roughly 13 km, as heading to the canyon does make it a bit of a longer ride. It can easily be cut in half, though, by going down Arrowhead and then coming right back up Better than Boston.
The best part of this ride is that Barking Dog goes along Cedar Lake 1 and 2, providing the perfect opportunity to go for a post bike swim. The lakes are a very comfortable swimming temperature in July and August and we recommend stripping down and diving in!
These are just a few of the trails in Golden that our staff suggests exploring; there are so many trails that this list could go on-and-on! But these are our favourite, and we hope they're enjoyable for you too.
For more information on any of the trails, head to the Golden Cycling Club page.
Tourism Golden also issues a Golden Bike Trail Map every year and it's a great free resource. It shows all the trails in the networks surrounding town, making it really easy for you to plan your ideal ride.
Cheers from the Glacier Crew!
If you love biking the trails, we thought you might enjoy hiking them too. Check out our blog on the 5 Best Hikes Near Golden, BC if you're looking for ideas.